The future of streaming is now, and everyone is trying to figure out a way to cash in. One of the biggest movers and shakers in the market is Amazon. Bezos’ Prime service started out as discounted shipping and other perks for members, but it has grown into a major player in the streaming media marketplace.
As with most streaming services, Amazon started with canned content from other providers, then slowly added scripted programming made in-house. The next logical step was live sports, but that has been a difficult task every streaming service has tried to solve.
Social media has tried offering live sports with mixed success. Amazon was one of the first streaming services to do it right through exclusive content agreements with the big boss in the live sports game: the National Football League.
This past NFL season, Amazon streamed several games and did reasonably well, based on comparative metrics. Amazon added to what Twitter was able to do with streaming football in 2016, topping 316,000 in per-minute audience. A big jump over what Twitter managed the year before.
That’s not to say there isn’t room for improvement. Even in what was, for the NFL, an off year, TV ratings for NFL games did fairly well, at least on Sundays and Monday nights. Thursday struggled, but TV still topped streaming by a wide margin. That said, the trend definitely favors streaming media. How soon will they reach a tipping point?
Jim DeLorenzo, head of Amazon Sports, told the Associated Press it’s too early to say. “We’re just in the early stages here. We were definitely pleased with the way things played out. It was great to partner with the NFL on this, and we were really happy with how our customers reacted to it. But it’s too soon to say how this impacts our strategy going forward.”
Translation: we haven’t quite decided how far we’re going to push this, but it will be a process. During the football off-season, Amazon has contracted to broadcast certain other sports, including professional volleyball and tennis.
One of the factors helping Amazon is the quality of the stream. The picture, for most users with a high-speed connection, was clear and crisp and delivered even faster than some cable connections. That, in itself, is a real coup. In most cases, internet streaming content is slower than cable, broadcasting with a bit of a delay.
If Amazon and other streaming services can keep up this level of service, the “delay” on that coming tipping point could be very short indeed.
Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of the New York based public relations firm 5WPR: one of the 20 largest PR Firms in the United States.